What a great week we are having, albeit a bit wet… It is homecoming week at the high school and all those in the district that are proud graduates of South Kitsap High School are no doubt sporting their alma mater gear. It has been said that ‘Homecoming unites the past and the present.’ I think this is especially true for our community. I have been struck by how many of our staff members have grown up in this community and returned to raise their own families. Our schools are rich in tradition and we truly value the spirit that is South Kitsap. We share the common belief that the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
I plan on sharing key information on our strategic district-wide initiatives over the next several weeks. This week, I will focus on our Long Range Capital Facilities Planning Committee. This group is made up of district leadership, community members, and architectural expertise. Our goal is to provide a data driven plan for the most effective and efficient use of our district schools for the coming thirty years. As we endeavor to educate the 21st Century Whole Child, we recognize the world is changing and therefore the teaching and learning experiences our children will need to have are also changing. Our communication plan is evolving as is our work. I so appreciate all of the school staff who have provided feedback as we are visiting all the schools to check on the ‘educational adequacy’ of each site. Please also visit the web-site for more details.
This past week, our Community Transition Program’s luncheon and chili cook-off for first responders took place on 10/17: The winners of the Chili Cook-Off were: 1st – Kitsap County Sheriff; Awarded for “Awesome” – Kitsap Fire and Rescue; Awarded for “Amazing” – Port Orchard Police; Awarded for “Fantastic” – Port Orchard Parking Enforcement. This was an exciting event for both students and staff and another example of the amazing work these program staff, led by Robin Christman, do every day. This month also happens to be Disability History Month. There are many amazing people who overcame disabilities to shape the world we live in today. Thank you to all our dedicated staff who work with our students that have disabilities and support them each and every day as they find their unique mountain top experiences. Well done!!
I want to thank all those of you who took the time to respond to the recent Communication Survey. The Board had an opportunity to review all of the information and we were able to have a robust conversation regarding my communication planning. As I continue to work hard to meet the needs of a vast and differentiated staff, I am committed to improving my skills in this regard. I appreciate the constructive criticism and know that I can integrate many of the suggestions into my daily work. One example is that beginning next week, I will also be sending a Friday Footnote in the afternoon Fridays for those folks who would rather read a more streamlined ‘skim version’ of my Thursday Memo. This will be in a more bulleted format; yet endeavor to retain an abridged view of topics discussed in my more narrative Thursday Memo. I will also work to include more information ahead of key decision points so that I am not only reporting decisions after the fact, as well as updating you more frequently on key district-wide initiatives; e.g., IB, STEM, ADK, etc.. Please review my plan and feel free to offer any other suggestions you might think I would find helpful. Thank you.
As we emerge from our recent financial morass and celebrate our enrollment surge, we are making strategic decisions to sustain our support for the Whole Child. I recently met with our school district nurses and reviewed their current workload which has significantly escalated in the past several years. A review of their data also reveals that the acuity of health needs has dramatically increased for our student body. With these facts in mind, I did approve the reinstatement of previously cut nursing time to increase the district nursing team by .40 FTE positions. This brings them back to the staffing ratios present in the 2012-13 school year. As this is an add to the current budget, I believe it important to process this transparently and note that this hardworking team continues to support all our students in each of our schools compassionately and professionally. In the next couple of weeks, you might see some adjustments in their schedule and school assignments as they work with Dave Colombini and principals to best distribute their hours and services. I know I join you in thanking them for all their hard work. Well done.
I want to give a shout out to the SK high school cross country team for hosting a tremendous Homecoming Fun Run this past Saturday. Coach Erin Fraser, her staff and athletes, hosted a great event with positive energy and community support. While I confess I did not ‘tear up the course’ it was a fun event to participate in. Go SK XC!!
Believe in the Pack and Go Wolves!
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a fantastic week!! I know that there is a great deal of preparation work in each school as we prepare for parent conference week next week. This is such a significant opportunity to partner with parents as we continue to support each and every child in this incredible journey to a world class education. I also know that it is a great deal of work to prepare for the myriad questions parents and guardians will ask about their child and their progress. I appreciate it. I continue to visit schools and meet with students for breakfast as well as visit classrooms. This is the best part of my work and keeps me grounded in our work; the teaching and learning that occurs in the schools, and more specifically in each classroom in the district. I am so proud of the work going on in our schools.
Several of the district wide committees have kicked off their annual work plan. This week, the District Assessment Committee kicked off their work with a meeting Wednesday evening at Marcus Whitman Junior High School. Mr. Brian Carlson, the principal at Marcus Whitman Junior High, is leading this important work and has as is leadership buddy, Ms. Misty Dieffenbach, our Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. Ms. Sheila Cochran is providing the secretarial support for this hard working group. I attended the meeting to present their charge for the work expected to be completed during the current year prior to June 1, 2015. As part of their work, they are doing a book study on a book titled, Embedded Formative Assessment, by Dylan Wiliam. If you would also be interested in reading this book, please let me know and we will provide you a copy. Minutes of this and all the other committees will be routinely available on our web-site and I will also be periodically highlighting different committees in this memo.
Another committee, the District Professional Development Systems Council (PDSC) has recently begun its critical work. Mr. Jay Villars, the principal at John Sedgwick Junior High is leading this important work and has as his leadership buddy, Ms. Tracy Patterson, our new Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations. Ms. Vivian Jensen is providing the secretarial support for this hard working group. I attended their first meeting and provided the charge for their work to be delivered at the end of this academic year as well. Minutes of this committee will also be provided on-line and be periodically highlighted in this memo.
As next week is conference week, we are excited to again be providing several opportunities for classified staff development. The staff development flyer describes the opportunities available for all classified staff. In addition to the sessions listed on the aforementioned flyer, the Office of Special Education is offering courses geared toward special education paraprofessionals. For more information on this flyer and courses, please contact Ms. Shelby MacMeekin. These are very challenging professional job assignments and we appreciate any ideas you might have for future courses in the spring. Thank you to all those supporting and attending these staff development sessions.
I appreciate all of your efforts today as we took part in the district wide Earthquake Drill. This drill planning is so important to all of us. While I know at times these practice sessions seem tedious; but, the students always comment on their importance when we discuss safety at Breakfast Club meetings. These drills provide a sense of security as we feel more prepared to deal with the unexpected. As long as we are prepared well, we can handle anything. Thank you.
This week, for the first time in our district, we had students at the secondary schools take the PSAT test during school hours. This was a huge undertaking and as with all events that occur for the first time, we have notes on how to smooth out the implementation challenges. Overall, there were 656 total PSAT tests taken. Of these, SKHS: 374 students; Cedar: 62 students; Marcus: 70 students; and, Sedgwick: 150 students (139 9th grade and 11 8th grade) took the exam. This is great as many students have been able to have a practice run at this potentially high stakes scholarship exam so they are better prepared for the exam in the future, and they will receive valuable information on possible course selection options in their remaining high school years. Also, many families are challenged with transportation to get students to the schools on Saturday. For running start students, having the PSAT exam given during the school day is more problematic. We are looking into the possibility of having both options for our students in the future. I want to thank all of those involved in this text administration, particularly the guidance counselors and their staff as well as facilities staff who delivered tables, and all support staff, teachers and principals who made this possible. It was a team effort. It matters.
Finally, I had occasion to visit with the District Math Committee this week as they are back at it for the new year. Ms. Shannon Thompson is leading this work along with the teachers who share the passion for this content area. An article they are currently reviewing caught my interest and so I thought I would share it with you. Why Do Americans Stink at Math?, by Elizabeth Green, is a very provocative article and one that might be a nice collaboration topic. I find that looking at challenges from all frames of reference help us interrogate the best pathway to a better future. Thanks to Ms. Bressert, SKHS math teacher, for providing the article.
Have a great rest of the week and restful week-end.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a great week!! The full moon is so prophetic in terms of energy and excitement. The atmosphere and weather have been incredible; especially when compared to so many other parts of our country this fall. I am also pleased with the October 1 headcount report recently submitted to the state. We are growing for the first time in sixteen years and with that growth comes opportunity and stability. As we continue to be disciplined and innovative, we will continue to be amazing!! Thank you.
This past week at our school board meeting, we had the opportunity to honor several NIB recipients NIB award photo gallery. Mr. Brian Pickard, principal at South Colby Elementary School, nominated Logan Gleason, and his parents Sandra and Timm Gleason, for their work in earning the Eagle Scout rank and supporting the earning of the Eagle Scout rank respectively. Logan worked hard on several projects at South Colby Elementary and his work is much appreciated. Ms. Laurie MacMillan, Summer Lunch Program Coordinator, honored Rebecca and Gabrielle King for their hard work and support during the summer lunch program this past summer. Well done!!
At the board meeting, we also had a monitoring report for Ends 2 – ‘The South Kitsap School District will enable all students to grow to their full potential while in school and to develop the desire and ability to become lifelong learners.’ Principal Brian Carlson, from Marcus Whitman Junior High, introduced three members of his ASB group to the Board. Juliana Miller, Grace Ebuen, and Leila Cruz, talked to the Board about their experience at Marcus Whitman Junior High and their dreams for the future. Captain Todd Schapler, Senior Naval Science Instructor, and Sr. Chief Petty Officer, Harold Vickers, Naval Science Instructor, presented three of their leadership cadets (Alexander Speise, Tyler Hammrick, and Nathaniel Speise) to the Board who spoke about the goals of the SKHS NJROTC Program for the year and then shared their personal goals. All these young people are very impressive. Well taught and well learned will always lead to well led. Mr. Mark Gudger, and Mr. David Listoe, both IB coordinators from Cedar Heights and Hidden Creek respectively, presented information regarding the progress of the IB initiatives at their schools. Very informative.
During the course of the Board meeting, the Board reviewed and affirmed their commitment to Board/ Superintendent Relations Policy 1 and Board/ Superintendent Relations Policy 2; The Governance Process Policies and the Board/Superintendent Relations Policies are monitored through Board self-assessment.
As I have previously mentioned, our school district is one that operates by Policy Governance. This means that the Board of Directors has Ends (there are eight of them) that are our district goals and then govern by holding the superintendent accountable for the means or the Executive Limitations (there are fifteen of them). These then are regularly reviewed publicly and form the background for my annual evaluation. Executive Limitation 3 and Executive Limitation 4 are to be reviewed later this month. For these, the Board has asked for external data; in this case to be provided by staff in the district. To that end, I am providing a link to a survey monkey (very quick survey) on the strength and effectiveness of my communication with you. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TF9ZVL8 . This data goes to Amy Miller who will compile the summary report for the Board to be discussed at the October 21 meeting. Please take a moment to fill this out so that I can continue to improve my leadership of our district. As this has been open for a week, the survey will close on Monday, October 13. Thank you for your thoughtful participation.
This past week, several of the district committees have begun and involve many staff members from all across the district. I want to take a moment and personally thank all of you who are so generous with your time to assist, support and lead this important work. It matters.
As we continue to work to support our children and families, I am pleased to report that our partnership with the YMCA is scheduled to begin at Burley Glenwood and Sunnyslope on Tuesday 10/14. At these two schools, we are continuing to take information and registration. Please contact staff at these schools for more information.
Let’s enjoy another beautiful week-end.
It has been a smooth start to another great school year for many students in the South Kitsap School District, both young and old. As the weather turns from the warm sunny days of summer to the cooler and bracing days of fall, we are so excited by the many exciting learning opportunities our record number of students and staff are engaged in. For the first time in sixteen years, we are seeing an increase in enrollment rather than a decrease.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, I want to thank the many community members who took the time to attend our recent Town Hall Meeting held at the high school and those community leaders who took the time to come and share their experiences and insights. It is important for us to share information on important district initiatives; we plan to continue our conversation with the community as we move forward this coming year.
There are a number of initiatives we are focused on this year. Several of our schools are working on becoming STEM focused schools which is another way of saying that we are developing a more comprehensive approach to science, technology, engineering and mathematics at these schools. This is exciting because our state continues to have a high need for graduates with STEM strengths. Other schools are focused on becoming International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. This curriculum is both rigorous and student centered providing many advantages to learners.
Our Spanish Immersion Program and Pacific Rim language additions are up and running as are the new Advanced Placement (AP) courses at the junior highs and high school. We are committed to high expectations for all children and are resolute about providing high support to get them there. Our exemplary staff continue to unwaveringly commit to providing a world class education for each child – no exceptions. As we continue our work toward the District 2020 Goal of having 80% of our graduates successfully enter post-secondary education, we will continue to partner with parents, families, and the community.
With the new school year upon us, and the bright hopes for a great fall term, I want to remind each of us to take an extra minute and provide encouragement and support to a young person as they work on their studies. The power of that positive encouragement and support is one that strengthens our community and inspires our youth to do their best. This power of inspired innovation is one that holds the key for our collective future.
And so, we are in the throes of the first week of October already; hard to believe. October is a month of committee beginnings across the district and the work of integrating many voices as we all collectively support the teaching and learning work across this proud district.
I am so proud of our principals and their willingness to step up and lead some very important district wide initiatives. This evening was the kick off meeting for the District Highly Capable Task Force led by Ms. Kris Christenberry, Assistant Principal at Marcus Whitman Junior High. I have assigned a district Cabinet level member to be a ‘leadership mentor’ to each of the principals leading a district wide initiative this year and Jay Rosapepe, our District Director of Transportation, will be serving in this role for Kris. As I met with the large group, I presented the charge to the group for their work this year. I look forward to their recommendations. I will be updating you on the various other committees as they begin their work. If you have not already, please consider joining one of these groups so that we can all benefit from your experience.
This week also signaled the return of the Citizen’s Budget Advisory Team (CBAT) to the important work of budget review. The agenda for the evening led to robust conversation and a careful review of our purpose and direction for the year. More to come on this topic as the coming weeks and months unfold. Another group that will be meeting soon will be led by Rita Reandeau, our District Special Education Director. I have asked Rita to convene a group to look at the equitable distribution of our special education programs across the district. This work will be done in concert with the boundary review committee led by Dave Colombini, our Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. Rita is planning to have recommendations on equitable program placement by January so that this information can be considered as the boundary review committee led by Dave, must deliver their recommendations to me by March.
As I have previously mentioned, our school district is one that operates by Policy Governance. This means that the Board of Directors has Ends that are our district goals and then govern by holding the superintendent accountable for the means or the Executive Limitations (there are fifteen of them). These then are regularly reviewed publicly and form the background for my annual evaluation. Executive Limitation 3 and Executive Limitation 4 are to be reviewed later this month. For these, the Board has asked for external data; in this case to be provided by staff in the district. To that end, I am providing a link to a survey monkey (very quick survey) on the strength and effectiveness of my communication with you. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TF9ZVL8 . This data goes to Amy Miller who will compile the summary report for the Board to be discussed at the October 21 meeting. Please take a moment to fill this out so that I can continue to improve my leadership of our district.
As we continue to review and improve our care and safety practices, I want to alert you to a new process we will be utilizing in the transportation department. From here forward, we will be formalizing our release of the youngest learners when we transport them home by bus. Our district transportation department has done significant research into best practice with regard to safety for our youngest learners. The new form will be required of all families and while we recognize this will be more work for many, it will keep our children safer as it requires a receiving adult or plan. I thank all of those involved in this process for your extra efforts. It matters.
You may have noticed that Tracy Patterson, our Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations, Lee Fenton, from BLRB Architects, and I have been touring schools this week. We are doing an ‘educational adequacy’ study as I have previously explained. The schedule for these meetings is set to enable us to visit all schools prior to our meeting on October 22. Our Long Range Capital Facilities Committee continues to work on this important topic as our community continues to grow.
Finally, I have an interesting and provocative article regarding The Path Least Taken, an article whose quest it is to better understand more about high school graduates who do not go on to college. This September 2014 article has as its ‘big takeaway’ that “it is important for public schools to prepare all students to be life-long learners, regardless of whether or not they go to college. Such preparation includes rigorous courses and more student support, especially in bridging the gulf between aspiration and attainment. …” More food for thought…. Please share any comments, insights or thoughts you might have on this challenging topic.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a great first week of fall. Even I had to break out my fins and snorkel to navigate through Port Orchard during the heavy rains. I think I understand how the ducks feel.
This past week, I had an opportunity to attend the first of thirty two scheduled breakfast clubs of the school year. This first one of these was at Hidden Creek, and as usual I really enjoy the opportunity to spend time directly with our students. They have a great deal to say about their education, dreams and hopes for the future. Their interest in the changing world around us is inspiring. Their capacity for innovative thinking is limitless in large part due to the focused inquiry instruction and sound pedagogical support they receive daily from talented staff. They also remain by nature generally optimistic about their capacity to meet future challenges. I love that.
This past week, the first meeting of the Boundary Review Committee was held. The agenda for the meeting outlined the beginning of this important work. The presentation lays out the timeline for this work and also how and when different stakeholders can be involved in the process. I will be regularly sharing the minutes of these meetings and other major initiative meetings through this memo. Elementary class size utilization and school level size utilization reports were also reviewed.
At the Board meeting this week, the work study session focused on a presentation of state student achievement data from the spring of 2014 and a current report on the graduation progress for the class of 2015. Shannon Thompson and Dave Colombini both did admirable jobs leading the discussion on these important topics. On a related Board agenda item, in keeping with Policy Governance, I presented my certification for Executive Limitation 1 and Executive Limitation 2 which are used to inform my evaluation by the Board of Directors. These ELs (there are fifteen of them) are annually reviewed and publicly discussed throughout the year.
A reminder that this evening there will be a showing of the movie, Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination. This movie, sponsored by the Sustainable Cinema Program and Commissioner Garrido, is just under an hour long and examines the two million minutes of high school (grades 9-12) for two American high school students, two high school students in India, and two high school students in China. The film examines the possible purposes for education systems; e.g., serving the needs of adolescent learners versus the economic needs of a nation. It is likely a provocative movie and will lead to a robust conversation. Hope to see you there…
For the first time in sixteen years, we are seeing an increase in enrollment rather than a decrease. This is in large part due to an increase in kindergarten numbers. Team Kindergarten has been working hard since last spring to prepare for this new instructional programming and in launching Kindergarten 2.0 in South Kitsap, they are building on the successes of our traditional kindergarten program and providing opportunities for our kindergarteners to not only gain new knowledge, but, more importantly, to explore and apply this new knowledge in ways that will increase their curiosity, creativity, inquiry skills, and innovative and critical thinking skills. Consequently, our kindergarten teachers are truly pioneers because in launching Kindergarten 2.0, they are actually providing the catalyst for creating innovators in South Kitsap.
This past week, our junior high cross country teams took to the trail as they had a meet here in Port Orchard. The girls teams from all three junior highs as well as the boys teams had a great meet. What a disciplined athletic endeavor. I trust each of you will have an opportunity to get outside during this upcoming fall week-end and enjoy the gifts of this season. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me or simply respond to the e-mail.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a great week. It was so refreshing to have a sunny week-end with a bit of rain this week. Our grounds certainly can benefit from the moisture. At least we are not having the extreme weather issues that many parts of our country are currently experiencing.
This week, the SKSD Board of Directors hosted a Town Hall meeting at the high school theatre. Several topics of importance were discussed and a significant number of patrons and staff attended to join the conversation. Port Orchard Police Chief Marti provided a presentation on school safety and security parameters which included a review of the bomb threat incidents at the high school this past spring. Sherriff Simpson and our School Resource Officers (SRO) Bernie Brown and David Humphrey were also present and shared their perspectives and expertise on this important topic. As the format of this meeting was designed to hear from our community, members of the audience asked questions and provided information during the open microphone portion of the meeting. It is important to the Board that we listen to the concerns and are responsive to them. The safety of our students and staff remain the paramount concern of the district.
Another topic addressed at the meeting is the topic of changing graduation requirements. Executive Director for Teaching and Learning, Shannon Thompson, provided a presentation on current and evolving graduation requirements. As these requirements remain a bit of a moving target, please do take the time to review the presentation and please connect with us where you have questions or where you think we can be clearer on these complex topics. We will continue to have a spot on the district web-site that lines out this important information.
The topic of how we will ‘re-boundary’ the school district was also discussed at the meeting. Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, Dave Colombini, provided a presentation that outlined the process he will be leading on this topic. Several audience members provided input on this topic at the meeting. As you have the opportunity to review the process; if you have any feedback for us, please do not hesitate to provide it to us. As this process will affect all of us in the district, it will take all of our best thinking to have a smooth and equitable process that supports teaching and learning in the district for the years to come. The final topic we discussed was the strategic planning we will be doing this year to culminate in a revised strategic plan to be recommended and approved by the Board in February 2015.
To kick off the new year of Innovative Task Force Meetings, I would like to invite you to attend a showing of the film, 2 Million Minutes, which compares the U.S. school system with those in India and China. The showing is Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 pm at the Dragonfly Cinema in Port Orchard. I will be introducing the film with a few remarks and we will have a brief discussion following the showing which runs about an hour. This will be considered the first meeting of the Innovative Task Force and we will have an opportunity to more fully debrief and discuss at the following meeting on October 9th. This Task Force, like many others in the district, is open to any staff member in the district, as well as community members. Last year, we routinely had thirty or so folks show up and address topics related to innovative programming in the district. Please consider joining us in the coming year.
There are many other Task Force and Committees that will be working on robust topics this year. Most of these committees are being led by building principals and will be making recommendations that affect us all. Please consider serving on one of these groups as the information begins to come out in the next couple of weeks. More to come on this topic in coming memos. This is such an exciting time to be involved in education.
The Long Range Capital Facilities Committee has been meeting this past summer and will continue to meet until a recommendation for the thirty year plan is made to the Board in May 2015. We meet every other Wednesday morning for two hours. In the next couple of weeks, I will be joining Tracy Patterson, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations, Tom O’Brien, our Director of Facilities, and Lee Fenton, an architect and planner from BLRB, as we visit every school and site in the district to conduct an educational assessment of each site. These conversations will be fluid and are intended to be summary in nature and will be reviewed by the committee.
Finally, I had the opportunity to attend the home opener for the new water polo team. What a great event!! I was there to see the first ever goal scored in a SKHS water polo match (and the first ever save at home as well). The boys had a great pre-game cheer and played with a great deal of heart. It is always difficult to be part of a program that is starting up and I am proud of their efforts. As the years roll forward and we develop championship level water polo teams; we will look back and thank this courageous group of young men for their hard work and commitment to excellence. I also want to thank the NJROTC for parading the colors and the Highlighters for doing a great job with the national anthem at the Board meeting. We have such amazing and talented young people in this district. Thank you.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a great second week. Thank you all for working so hard these last two weeks as we start the new school year. There is such a sense of promise and expectation on the part of our students from young to old. We have close to 80 more kindergarteners this year than we started last year with; how exciting is that !! Overall, our enrollment for the first time in many years has turned upward. We are starting with more students in the district this year than we started with last year. The enrollment chart to be presented to the Board this coming week is both positive and a testament to your hard work and commitment to excellence. Thank you.
I am so excited about the Town Hall meeting our Board will be hosting on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the South Kitsap High School Theatre. The meeting is open to the public and participation is encouraged. The featured topics will include:
It is an opportunity to join the conversation on these important topics. I know many of you had questions, thoughts, and ideas following the bomb threat situation at the high school last spring. It is important that we provide an opportunity to have a conversation that answers these important questions and explores our future expectations in safety related situations. We will also begin the strategic planning and district re-boundary conversations. As the latter is likely to be a topic of yeasty proportions, it is a good idea to be part of the conversation early.
As we endeavor to meet the needs of our increasing enrollment, our contractual commitment to lowering class sizes at both the elementary class size and secondary class size levels, minimizing classroom splits, and our roll-out of all-day kindergarten, we are continuing to add staff. Also, schools are continuing to balance class sizes and sections to optimize the student learning experiences. Please note these class size charts are subject to change. These adjustments are being made smoothly and collaboratively.
Like many districts in the state, our district has participated in the Medicaid match program for many years. Last year, in an effort to recognize the hard work going on in the schools on this important topic for children and families, the Cabinet recommended and communicated to principals that fifty percent of all monies generated by staff at a school would be returned to the school in the coming year. These monies as charted will be distributed to school building budgets this week and represent monies that are not restricted and so may be used as the school plans and school leadership teams determine are best to support teaching and learning at the school level.
As many of you are aware, each school leadership team and office staff provided a prediction of the actual enrollment they would realize on the official State count day. This prediction was collected at the District office with the results announced today at the principal meeting. This has been a very tight competition and an important one as accurate projections assist us with planning. The first place winners were Manchester and Cedar Heights. Right on their heels, in second place was Marcus Whitman. Overall, the results were positive and for those not in the winner circle, it is not too early to start working on next year ;>) All trophies were donated.
As we return to school, I want to be mindful of the safety related to driving and many children on the roads and at bus stops. Washington AAA has timely safety tips for all of us to consider and diligently abide by as the year unfolds, particularly as it gets light later and dark earlier. Another great shout out to the Facilities Department as they have responded to innumerable requests in the past week. It is reassuring to be on such a great team!!
Finally, I would ask that each of you take a moment in the next day or two to be still and remember the events of 9/11 so many years ago now. There are so many who lost their lives and so many others who lost loved ones. As bells tolled solemnly today, Americans marked the 13th Anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with the reading of the names (almost 3,000 of them), moments of silence and serene music that have become tradition. I would ask that we remember and then reflect on what is positive and take a moment to thank all of those who continue to serve, support, and protect us during these challenging times. We are a land of the free because of the many who are brave. Thank you.
Enjoy a great week-end and Go SK Wolves, Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks !!
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
What a fantastic start of the school year!! I so appreciate all the hard work each of you have undertaken in each of your unique roles to make this such a smooth opening of school. It takes everyone, with all your unique talents, to make our schools run smoothly and effectively. Again, a big shout out to all the facilities, grounds and custodial staff for all the work done this summer to have our schools and grounds look so great. Well done! Also, thank you to the intrepid transportation drivers, mechanics and support staff as we start off another year with all the busses running smoothly and safely. The first day lunch choices were healthy and satisfying thanks to our nutrition services staff. I particularly enjoyed the fresh vegetables available (and the pepperoni pizza of course ;>)
Thank you also to all the teachers, para-educators, principals, and district support staff who have worked so hard and are so welcoming to all the students joining us this year. Our family just keeps growing. As we endeavor to meet the needs of our increasing enrollment, our contractual commitment to lowering class sizes at both the elementary class size and secondary class size levels, minimizing classroom splits, and our roll-out of all-day kindergarten, we have already committed to thirty-seven extra teachers this year over last year. I know you join me in welcoming these new teachers to our family. Please note these class size charts are subject to change.
I want to celebrate with each of you that our enrollment numbers are up across the board from our budgeted projections. For the first time in several years, we are starting the school year with more students than we started the school year last year with according to preliminary numbers. This is great news and a testament to your hard work. We have more kindergarten students than anticipated and are continuing to enroll students at all of our schools. While this is a celebration for all of us, it also presents some challenges at certain schools as we are running out of classroom space at several of our schools. Again, while this is a good problem to have, it also signals the importance of the need to re-boundary the school district.
I want to remind each of you about the three major district-wide committees that will be in place for the year. These three groups will be informing the future of our school district for the next generation. The three groups are 1) Strategic Planning which began in early August and will report to the Board by February 1, 2015, with a recommendation for the Strategic Plan for the District. The upcoming Board Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, September 16 at the high school theatre, will kick off a more public conversation on this important topic. The Board also has a Board retreat scheduled for Saturday, October 4, to discuss the process for this important work; and 2) District Re-Boundary, Grade Level Realignment and Possible School Closure metrics group will begin meeting later this month and make a recommendation to the Board by March 1, 2015; and 3) Long Range Capital Facilities Planning Group which has started meeting over the summer and will continue to meet in the coming year. This group will make a thirty year recommendation on our facilities by May 1, 2015. If you are interested in participating in any of these groups, please e-mail email@example.com.
After several staff members expressed concerns this past year about the classroom door locking mechanisms, we have found a workable solution that is financially feasible. Our Facilities Department has test piloted these exquisitely simple devices and had them approved by our fire district for safety and use. This device enables teachers to lock their classroom doors from the inside without going outside their classroom in the event of a security emergency. Please check in with your principal as to the install date and directions for use of these locking mechanisms. Thank you to our facilities staff for this cost effective safety solution.
Northwest Asphalt was busy today at Cedar Heights JHS completing the installation of a new parking lot. The first section, added last week, was donated to the school district under an agreement with Rush Construction and the City of Port Orchard. It added 41 paved parking spaces for the campus. The second section, along the Cedar Heights baseball field 3rd base line, will create a paved bus staging area, car parking for baseball games, and overflow parking for school events. This is so appreciated.
Finally, I am so pleased by the strong summer reading work so many of our students in the district participated in over the summer. The Port Orchard Branch of the Kitsap Library System has compiled data for the 2014 Summer of Learning which are impressive. This partnership is so beneficial for our students. I continue to be thrilled to serve you as this new year begins and know we are making such a difference in the lives of so many young people. It matters. Thank you.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
And so, it is beginning to feel like that time of the year again. The sun is rising a bit later and setting a bit earlier than usual; the Seahawks are returning to the gridiron and the Mariners are hot in the playoff hunt… So, it must be time for school to start.
I am thrilled to be able to welcome all of our South Kitsap School District students and staff back to school. There are so many exciting opportunities for students planned for the 2014-15 school year. Our staff has been busy over the summer preparing for the upcoming year as we are offering many new courses, programs, and experiences while continuing to build on the strengths and traditions of prior years.
With the addition of AP courses at the 9-12 grade levels, Pacific Rim languages at the secondary schools, selected STEM focused schools, an elementary Spanish Immersion Program, IB candidate schools at all levels, enhanced CTE courses, all day kindergarten, advanced mathematics at earlier grade levels, adding orchestra to the high school, etc., we continue to be responsive to community expectations for our schools. We never forget that we exist to serve the children of this community.
I encourage students and families to attend the Open House events scheduled at all schools this fall and to frequent the district web-site as critical information is easily accessible as well as district and school calendar information. You can also use our district Facebook page or sign up to follow us on Twitter. Family involvement is so critical for student success. There are so many ways to get involved and be informed.
I continue to be so awed by the generosity of this proud community. Our recent Back to School celebration, attended by approximately five thousand people, and the provision of school supplies for so many of our children, was made possible by the generous donations of time and money by so many staff and community volunteers. Thank you.
I look forward to seeing you at the many school and community events scheduled for the coming weeks and months. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me as we continue to improve our program of studies for the children of this great district. Together all things are possible.